EMPORIA, Kan. (ESU Soccer Pitch) -- It turns out 110 minutes wasn't enough. The Bemidji State University soccer team needed to win in penalty kicks to defeat Central Oklahoma University and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday morning.
Tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, the Beavers and Bronchos each got five penalty kick opportunities. BSU’s Erin Becker, Ally Smith, Sara Wendt, and Halle Peterson each made good on their attempt and after the first three Bronchos buried their opportunities as well, BSU goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh came up with a save and Emma Huelsnitz scored to clinch the PK victory for the Beavers, 5-3.
Central Oklahoma controlled play for much of the first 45 minutes of play aided by significant wind gusts in Emporia. The Bronchos finished the half with a 12-2 edge on total shots and a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal. The team also finished the first half with nine corner kicks.
With less than a minute to play in the half, the Beavers caught a break. The Bronchos were called for a handball in the box and BSU was awarded a penalty kick. Megan French took the fee boot, but the OCU goalkeeper, Kaitlyn Asher, guessed right and came up with the save to keep the score locked at 0-0.
The Beavers got the wind in the second half and were able to generate some additional opportunities, but were unable to solve the Bronchos’ goalkeeper, which pushed the match to overtime and double-overtime before BSU’s Head Coach Jim Stone send his five in for penalty kicks to decide the match.
Bemidji State finished the match trailing COU 14-7 in shots and 5-3 in shots on goal, while BSU manages four second-half corner kicks to close the deficit to 13-4 on the day.
Stumbaugh finished the afternoon with five saves in 110 minutes of action to wrap up her 10th shutout of the season. She then stopped one of the four penalty kick shots she faced to propel BSU into the second round of the tournament for just the second time in program history. The junior moves to 16-1-2 on the season.
Bemidji State, now 18-1-3 overall, will now move on to face the winner of the sub-regional's second match, Emporia State University, which earned a 2-0 victory over Northwest Missouri State University. The sub-regional's final match is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the ESU Soccer Pitch.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Collegiate Hockey Association, respectively, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).